David Tuttlemanby David Tuttleman

With about four weeks before TEDx Wilmington I have been practicing my talk every chance I get. Last week I gathered the executive team I’m putting together for my business and asked them to give it a listen. When I was done several of them commented about how powerful the story was. Then my lawyer said, “Can I give you some feedback?” Having a lawyer is prudent. It’s their job to keep the business out of sticky situations. But when they want to give “feedback” you know it’s going to be a challenge. Of course I said, “Sure that’d be great!”

The feedback he gave was valid. But taking it meant changing some of the talk, maybe changing all of the talk, maybe not giving the talk. I am eight weeks into the process. I’ve committed a lot of time, energy and resources into doing this well. I was honestly concerned this might mean the derailment of my dream of giving a TEDx talk. Clearly I needed to have a conversation with my speaker coach. Fortunately we had a meeting scheduled in just a few days.

I walked into my coaching session and the first words out of my mouth were, “I’ve got some bad news.” I shared with her what the lawyer said, and like any good coach she started asking questions. Good questions that I didn’t have answers for. So I got my lawyers on the phone. We spent 45 minutes going over the lawyers’ concerns, my coach’s ideas for changing the talk to address them and then the lawyers concerns about her changes. Looking back it is was a pretty intense set of conversations.

The good news – we got it ironed out. I still get the honor of speaking on the TEDx stage, I still get to share a piece of my adventure into the field of medical marijuana and the lawyers are happy. The not quite as good news – I need to double down on my practicing to incorporate the changes.

The one thing that was reinforced in a big way in the last few days: When you’re on the bleeding edge of an industry that is changing as fast as medical marijuana field it pays big dividends to surround yourself with a great team and to take their advice.